Mark Ellis pays tribute to M Cherif Bassiouni


M Cherif Bassiouni, 1937-2017

The passing of Professor M Cherif Bassiouni denotes an end of an era. In the area of international criminal law, Cherif was a giant. He, more than any other individual in the Twentieth Century, was responsible for the growth of international justice.

My first meeting with Cherif was at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the transformation of the former Soviet Union. I then engaged more closely with him when he chaired the Commission of Experts established by the United Nations Security Council in 1992 to investigate the atrocities committed in the Former Yugoslavia.

Cherif's work lead directly to the creation of the first post-World War II war crimes tribunal: the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). This, in turn, led to the world's first and, so far, only permanent international criminal court of last resort.

Cherif actively participated in a number of International Bar Association (IBA) projects, including being a member of the IBA's groundbreaking International Terrorism Task Force, created after 9/11.

In 2013, Professor Bassiouni was bestowed with the Stockholm Human Rights Award, an annual award presented by the IBA, the Swedish Bar Association and the International Legal Assistance Consortium for extraordinary achievements in the field of human rights.

He will be missed greatly.

Dr Mark Ellis
IBA Executive Director